As I watched the game yesterday, it seems as though a lot of Cub batters (can't call them hitters) have adopted a looping swing in order to finish with a upward angle. I suppose that is to try and hit the ball in the air, but what it usually results in is either a SO, a pop up or a lazy fly ball. In any event, we will all have some additional spare time shortly as the team exits meekly from the playoffs.
That is inexcusable! Baez can't hit the ball because he never watches it. When he swings he's looking at third base. Might as well bat blind folded. Tired of looking at Bryant.....PERIOD! Just quite don't know what to think about Rizzo. At least he tries to get the ball put in play.
Hey its tough to win one championship, let alone multiple. The Chicago Cubs join the 1986 Mets, 1995 Braves and 2008 Phillies in learning this painful baseball lesson. The young core of five years ago is now theoretically in their primes, as well as smelling free agency dollars. What happened?
Addison Russell. The most perplexing case. At age 22 he had a 95 rbi season and a proven track record of clutch postseason play. He had such a hammer lock on shortstop that he turned Javier Baez into a super utility player-and made Gleybar Torres expendable. He had, of course,off the field and family issues. Now 27, he is no longer in the major leagues.
Albert Almora. Scored a key run in game seven at age 22. Never developed power, then stopped hitting all together in 2019. Went further into the downward spiral in 2020, was sent to the developmental camp, and never returned. The implementation of the DH in the National League should have opened up a full time outfield spot for sure. It didn't. Now 26, his major league future is uncertain. May have never er have gotten over hitting the little girl with the foul ball in Houston, who e eventually passed away from her injuries.
Kyle Schwarber. The ultimate modern three outcome player, has improved his defense. It two steps forward, two steps back as a hitter. Cubs had so much faith in Almora and Schwarber that they traded Eloy Jiminiez and Jorge Soler. Both have gone on to be better offensive players. Schwarber is now an old 27 with a history of knee and weight issues. Hell, even Dan Vogelbach looks like a better offensive player.
Willson Contreras. You've heard of "Kokura's Luck"? Contreras suffers from "Francona's Luck". The world series winning manager was a pretty good player in the 1980's, but would suffer a season ending injury every time every got off to a hot start. Willson was an MVP candidate in 2017 when he hurt his hamstring and missed six weeks. In was rinse and repeat in 2019 when he was on another hot streak. There's another solid catcher on the roster (Caratini) and another on the way (Amaya). Contreras might be expendable.
Kris Bryant. My, how the mighty have fallen. He almost never rolled over on outside pitches his first three years in the league. He took them the other way with authority. He has twice hurt himself playing out of position, shoulder in 2019 collision with Heyward, wrist in 2020. Also, getting beaned by Colorado headhunters in 2018 didn't hurt either. Seemed to lose confidence and swagger. Needs to get it back.
Javier Baez. Strikeouts were up again. Didn't see many strikes,because pitchers didn't need to throw him many. He's too talented and naturally skilled to not bounce back. May have missed Madden's steady hand and needed a year to adjust to new skipper. Cubs need to lock him up.
Don't know exactly what happened. They would get fastballs in their zone, then miss them or foul them off. Miami young pitchers toyed with them.
So the postseason goes on without the Cubs (and every Central team in both leagues for what that's worth). Who will represent in the world series? I will go with San Diego, who reminds me of the Cubs from a few years ago, and the Astros,who are fashionable to hate. But they are now managed by Dusty Baker, a baseball lifer who deserves a ring. Baker played in the first baseball game I ever saw, at Wrigley in 1974 with new home run king Henry Aaron, and is a great baseball man.